Since the Dolphins drafted Minkah Fitzpatrick back in April, everyone has been curious as to just how the number one pick out of Alabama’s defensive backfield would be used in Miami.
And while you can’t judge everything off of preseason, primarily because teams often are disguising what they really intend to do, there is already some indication on utilization of Fitzpatrick.
On a Thursday YouTube segment Pro Football Focus broke down of several different rookies so far this season including Fitzpatrick. They start discussing him around the 6:45 mark:
Most interestingly out of what they did is a breakdown of where Fitzpatrick lined up. Not surprisingly, most of the time (23 snaps) he was being used in the slot to cover inside receivers or tight ends in the first two games with the Bucs and the Panthers.
Fitzpatrick has made no secret since the time he was drafted, that the Dolphins had told him he was not a specific defensive backfield position, but rather “a football player.”
And without a doubt, having players like DB’s Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett as veterans gives defensive coordinator Matt Burke options on where to move Fitzpatrick around. As PFF points out, he’s also played the free safety position, roaming around for 11 plays in the first two games of the preseason.
And also, there is something to be said that the winning atmosphere that Fitzpatrick comes out of in Tuscaloosa is only going to help with his confidence and attitude as this 2018 season begins. After all, Fitzpatrick played in the College Football Playoff Championship Game in each of the last three seasons-winning twice.
That will give you confidence. No matter where you line up.
Dolphins place two more veteran defenders on IR
With the Dolphins now 2-8, it appears they will be in full “tank mode” for the remaining six games. And that includes, putting two veteran defensive backs on injured reserve Wednesday morning.
Miami announced corner Bobby McCain and safety Reshad Jones both have played their final games in 2019:
We have signed safety Adrian Colbert, activated linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel from IR, and promoted defensive tackle Gerald Willis from the practice squad.
We have placed Gary Jennings, Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain on injured reserve.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 20, 2019
McCain suffered further injury to an already ailing shoulder in Sunday’s 37 – 20 loss to the Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. He has played in nine games this year registering 26 tackles with two ints and three other pass breakups.
As for Jones, there had been great debate that the Dolphins would release or trade him in the offseason to save on the salary cap, just as they did with numerous other veteran starters. However, he started the season but was injured right away in the opener with Baltimore. Jones also has been battling shoulder and other injuries and only has played four games the entire year.
Sunday was the first time that Jones had played in a month, as he started and had six tackles, but the team and coach Brian Flores decided to shut his season down as well.
You combine this news with the fact that Miami had already placed Pro Bowl safety Xavien Howard on injured reserve a few weeks back, and it’s obvious the Dolphins are looking ahead to next year and are prepared to lose out for a better draft position.
In an interesting corresponding move to McCain and Jones going on injured reserve, Miami announced that they will be promoting former Hurricanes DT Gerald Willis off of their practice squad to the active roster. Willis, who was an all-ACC first team selection last year, who led the conference with 18 tackles for loss. However, he went undrafted, but was in Ravens training camp before being released on the final cutdown. Miami has had him on the practice squad for several weeks.
Dolphins release already suspended RB Walton after latest arrest
The Miami Dolphins already knew the risks they were talking by signing Mark Walton this offseason after he had already been arrested three times. Now, suspended by the NFL Walton was arrested again Tuesday and his Dolphin career is subsequently over.
We have waived running back Mark Walton. pic.twitter.com/vXhON24Z4I
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 19, 2019
This comes on the heels of a report that Walton assaulted his pregnant girlfriend punching her numerous times and being taken into custody early Tuesday morning.
Walton was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals a year ago out of the University of Miami, but was released after being arrested three times since January, including once for assault charges.
As we had written in February, he allegedly got into the dispute with a woman that he did not know at his condo building, and was arrested by the Miami Police Department. The incident occurred in a parking garage after Walton became angry in a dispute about Walton’s car blocking the entrance.
When the woman apparently attempted to record Walton, he threatened her for using her cell phone. Walton grabbed the phone and struggled with the woman who was trying to get it back. Walton was taken into custody on a charge of battery.
Walton had worked his way into the starting lineup for first-year coach Brian Flores and offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea. However, after carrying the ball at least 10 times in three straight games, but for fewer than 70 yards in all three, he was given the four game ban.
Making all of this worse, Miami parted with former starter Kenyan Drake in a trade with Arizona just before the deadline. Drake has actually had three productive games with his new team the Cardinals, while the Dolphins run game continues to languish.
With Walton suspended by the NFL for four games, two weeks ago, Miami 2-8, has turned a second year running back Kalen Ballage. But, Ballage carried nine times for only nine yards in Sundays defeat against the Buffalo Bills.
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